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Mountain West News Bureau

Photo of a wolverine.
zoofanatic / Flickr

A nonprofit conservation group is launching what it says is one of the largest lawsuits ever brought under the Endangered Species Act. 

Photo of Gov. Steve Bullock.
Gov. Steve Bullock via Facebook

Another one bites the dust. 

Gov. Steve Bullock, D-Mont., is the latest candidate from the Mountain West to drop out of the 2020 presidential race.

A report out this week found that people seeking mental health treatment go out-of-network more than they do for primary care. Essentially, that means that for consumers, it’s often more expensive to treat mind than body, and the disparity seems to have gotten worse in recent years. 

Photo of desert with a State Trust Land sign.
Headwaters Economics

A new white paper from the non-profit Headwaters Economics says transferring public lands from the federal government to Western states would generate more revenue, but also comes with high economic costs.

Report Highlights Corners Of The Mountain West Lacking Running Water

Nov 21, 2019

A report out this week shows a significant number of Americans don't have access to basic services like running water. And many of the places that lack plumbing are in the Mountain West.

“Small pockets of communities without complete plumbing exist in every state,” write the researchers, who also say the gap isn’t driven by people who choose to live off-the-grid, but instead by a lack of basic infrastructure. 

Photo of smog over Salt Lake City.
Eltiempo10 / Wikicommons

A new draft proposal by the Trump administration may throw both current and future clean air and water laws into question.


If you're anything like me, you've never been on an e-bike before. You might not even know what it looks like. That's why I make a visit to a local bike shop in downtown Laramie to find out what all the fuss is about. Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, as they're known, are having a moment. Right now they're the fastest growing segment of the country's bike market and that market could get even hotter now they're allowed on some public lands.

Photo of William Perry Pendley on a bike.
Eric Coulter / Bureau of Land Management

A government watchdog on Wednesday filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management to find out why it hired a one-time, anti-public lands advocate to run the agency. 

There's been a lot of criticism of the Bureau of Land Management’s plan to move hundreds of positions from Washington D.C. to Western states. But the agency’s acting director is giving a new reason for the move.

William Perry Pendley told the Mountain West News Bureau that it’ll be easier to hire people in the West in part because people want to live here.

The Salt Lake Tribune masthead.
Chelsea Naughton / KUER

Kathy Stephenson has worked as a reporter for The Salt Lake Tribune since 1982. She’s taking this fellow journalist on a tour of its downtown newsroom and points to a row of empty, gray cubicles.

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to roll back Obama-era rules governing how coal-fired power plants store and release toxic waste.

State rankings are out for 2019 ACT test scores. For the Mountain West, it’s a mixed bag.

 


A new analysis from the Bozeman-based non-profit Headwaters Economics shows that the outdoor recreation industry is growing more than twice as fast as the overall economy, and the industry has an especially outsized role in the Mountain West.

Photo illustration showing documents.
Renee Bright / KUER

The Interior Department has walked back controversial efforts to curb public records requests in a final rule published Friday

Photo of Asylum 49 sign.
Nate Heygi / Mountain West News Bureau

  

It’s Saturday night, and I’m in Asylum 49’s basement. It’s actually an old hospital. Heavy metal is blasting from a loudspeaker. The basement’s pitch black except for a single, flickering strobe light. 

Photo of wild horses.
Bureau of Land Management

Reducing the number of wild horses and burros on Western public lands could take 15 years and cost $5 billion, the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management told reporters during a news conference this week. 

In the next few weeks, the U.S. Forest Service plans to conduct a massive controlled burn on a remote mountain in Utah, part of the agency’s efforts to better understand the behavior of giant fires that are becoming more common in the West.

A new report from Congress’s watchdog says employees overseeing public lands are facing hundreds of threats and assaults.

 


A new report shows youth suicide rates have spiked alarmingly in recent years, especially in the Mountain West.

Photo of a bison
Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

Are the super wealthy better equipped than the government to save America’s disappearing wildlands? An ex-Silicon Valley entrepreneur is trying to build the next Yellowstone — a 3.2 million acre, privately-funded wildlife reserve in eastern Montana. It's called American Prairie Reserve, and the organization is doing it by purchasing ranches, kicking out the cattle and replacing them with wild bison.  

Photo of members of Montana's Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force.
Tim Fox via Twitter

Tribal representatives in Montana are leaving the state’s new Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force in protest of Attorney General Tim Fox’s support of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

An Interior Department committee is recommending that the National Park Service privatize campgrounds in national parks and offer services such as WI-FI and food trucks.

Mountain West states have some of the lowest rates of youth obesity in the country, according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Utah's rate of 8.7% was found to be the lowest in the country, while Colorado and Montana, with rates of 10.7% and 10.8%, respectively, were also among the six states with obesity rates statistically significantly lower than the national average of 15.3%.

A few months ago, Tricia Shields was having a regular day at work. 

“I think I was daydreaming at my desk,” says Shields, a resident of Parker, Colorado, who was at the time working at a kidney care center in Denver.

Photo of a bison
Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

Bison road on prairie with clear blue sky.
Claire Harbage / NPR

Concerns over the environment have increasingly driven people to the streets to protest government inaction. But an ex-Silicon Valley entrepreneur is taking a different approach. He’s digging into his own pockets — and asking others to do the same — to do what he says the federal government can't and won't. 

It's flu season, so public health officials are pushing the flu shot, but many in the Mountain West are particularly bad at taking that advice.

Photo of Kate MacGregor.
U.S. Department of the Interior

President Donald Trump intends to nominate a long-time Republican Hill staffer to help lead the nation’s largest land management agency.

Personal income is on the rise across the country, and some of the biggest increases are in Mountain West states, according to data published last week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Our region is leading the way on training helicopter pilots to fight fires at night.  There are costs and hazards involved but the move could also help firefighters get the most threatening blazes under control more quickly.

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